How to Construct a Custom Kitchen Range Hood

Give your stock kitchen the high-end treatment with a custom, built-in range hood. Fitted with an exhaust fan that vents outside, your kitchen will not only look better — it will smell better, too.

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Make Template and Cut Arch

Using a combo square, mark off top and sides of arch on 1/4" MDF or luan to make a template. Leave approximately 2 inches on each side of arch and 2 inches from top of poplar board to allow for pocket holes. Use an oval tray or platter as a template for the curve (Image 1). Clamp MDF to work surface or board with spring clamps to stabilize and cut along arch line with a jigsaw (Image 2). Sand edges smooth. Position template over bottom of front panel and clamp into place with bar clamps. Use router equipped with a shank-side bearing flush-trim bit and let it ride along template to cut arch (Image 3). Tip: If a router is not available, a jigsaw can be used, but the cut will not be as smooth.

Install Exhaust Fan and Range Hood

Place range hood on its top and slide exhaust fan into place. If using a liner, also install liner at this point (Image 1). Secure with 1-1/4" wood screws or hardware provided by manufacturer. Locate position of studs in kitchen's rear wall with a stud finder or hammer and small nail. You can also "hear" studs by knocking on drywall and listening for a solid-sounding thud. Mark studs with a pencil just above where braces will be attached. Lift range hood into place and insert 1-1/4" wood screws through back braces into studs. Insert screws through both back braces at all stud locations to secure to wall (Image 2). If installing in a kitchen where cabinets flank range hood, insert a couple of wood screws into adjacent cabinet frames through side panels. Finally, connect exhaust fan to ductwork according to manufacturer's instructions.

Make Front Shelf

Cut two 1" x 4" poplar pieces to shelf's desired width with miter saw. Measure height of molding chosen to trim out shelf (4" to 6" molding is best). Stack poplar pieces cut for shelf and measure total thickness of both boards. Subtract that number from trim height. Rip down (cut length-wise) a board to the determined measurement to act as spacers and as an anchor for shelf. For example, if trim is 4" high and thickness of two poplar boards is 1 1/2", board should be ripped to 2 1/2". Cut ripped board to shelf length. Cut two small pieces out of waste to fit into sides. Clamp pieces and nail together to assemble a box with front side open (Image 1). Use combo square to determine proper placement on front panel (Image 2). Tack into place with finishing nailer. Secure back of box to range hood's front panel with 1-1/4" wood screws (Image 3). Tip: Rip cuts are made with a table or circular saw. If these tools aren't available, have pieces cut to size at a hardware store.

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